Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

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Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby torbjon » Wed Jul 30, 2008 6:32 am

Please keep in mind that "legal" and "ethical" are two different animals.

A few documented experiences which Suggest "unethical" behavior on the part of ATS management to me:

1) Lying to your membership:

SkepticOverlord:
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread353530/pg23
"We've made contact with the owner of the site and have officially requested a slight modification of the terminology they're using."

The "slight modifications" Bill "requested" equated to a complete redesign of all three ATSWatch.com pages in order to advance abovetopsecret.com in search engine placement.

Obviously, the only thing Bill has to do to show the ATS community that ALL he requested were some "slight modifications" is to release the email he sent to Shawnna to the ATS community for peer review and allow them to make up their own mind as to whether the statement he made above to his membership is factual or not.

2) Linking.

According to their About page, ATS encourages linking to other sites:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/about_abovetopsecret.html

"We respect the content of other sites and encourage linking."

According to their forum there are sites which ATS members are NOT allowed to link to:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread367790/pg1

"*WARNING Please be advised that any reference to outside forums of a similar nature to ATS will be removed by staff, and direct links (via u2u included) will result in immediate banning, without warn* "

There does not seem to be an easy to find list of sites which ATS members are NOT allowed to link to. How are members supposed to know which are ATS endorsed sites and which are on the ATS boycott list? Keep in mind, sending a U2U to a staff member with the question "can I post this link?" may result in an immediate banning without warning if the link in question is on their private boycott list.

3) Intentionally ignoring requests to establish a dialog via the official ATS "Contact Us" form.

This practice is documented here:

http://www.torbtown.com/abovetopsecret.html

and discussed with Bill and Mark within the ATSWatch forum here on RU:

viewforum.php?f=47

Within the course of that conversation with Bill and Mark they admit to having received the requests to establish a dialog but intentionally chose not to reply despite the fact that their auto responder of the time stated quite clearly that SOMEONE would reply within 48 hours.

4) Double standards.

Allowing member "A" to post wild and unsubstantiated claims while punishing member "B" for posting wild and unsubstantiated claims.

Certain members seem to be allowed more "leeway" than other members based upon their real life "celebrity" status.

====

The list continues but these are sufficient points to Suggest to Me that Perhaps the owners of abovetopsecret.com engage in unethical behavior and activities.

On this page, second post:

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread353530/pg23

Bill suggests that if anyone has a problem with the ATS business model that they should take Legal Actions.

The wording the of the ATS T&C ensures that the ATS business model and the way they conduct business on ATS is indeed 100% legal, ergo pursuing legal recourse is not an option.

ATS is "legal", no one is denying that.

This is a question of Ethics, which is a 100% individual assessment.

Bill seems to believe that the above listed actions constitute "ethical" behavior.

I am under the opinion that they do not.

We can both be right. We can both be wrong.

This is not something which can be decided within the American legal system. ATS is a global community of human beings and this subject is one which needs to be discussed openly and freely within that global community.

Some ATS members are under the opinion that I should have the crap beat out of me and my nose broken for Daring to raise the subject of "ethics" to the global community. They are entitled to that opinion. I am entitled to mine, and you are entitled to yours.

Please take the time and energy to examine the evidence at hand, question the participants involved, and formulate an opinion that is uniquely your own based upon your own personal value system...

Or not.

Denying ignorance does not have to be a lifestyle. It can simply be a catchy little logo which helps to sell soap.

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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby mojo » Wed Jul 30, 2008 1:12 pm

The suggestion of unethical behaviour, that’s a tough one.
It's always going to be a matter of perception really, not only from what side of the fence you sit, whether an ATS devotee or an ATS critic, but also from what culture and social group you belong to, in my opinion that on it’s own would make it extremely difficult for any legal action to be successful.

From my interaction with ATS and the staff and owners there are a number of things which i found distasteful that may or may not equate to unethical behaviours depending on the point i made above.

Firstly:

There is just too much anecdotal evidence of inappropriate and underhanded banning's, which is consistently denied, yet there is plenty of circumstantial evidence that their procedures are not all that they are cracked up to be. Not only yourself torbjon, but a couple of others that i have personal experience with have never received a reply after using their "contact" form numerous times.

Is it unethical to harangue and threaten other smaller CT communities with legal action for reasons that no one in their right mind would consider fair.
Is it unethical to accuse other smaller CT communities of engaging in abhorrent practices on ATS without giving those accused the right of reply.
Is it unethical to limit the rights of your members to swap information via a "private" messaging system, and then claim that those members were banned for linking to sites which are "persona non gratis", even though those members were never told that linking to those other sites would get them banned.
Is it unethical to use the content of your membership to raise finance through anonymous investors without allowing your members who provide the content an opportunity to know who owns the content and how it will be used.
Is it unethical to allow your members to threaten physical violence and stalking of members of other forums while at the same time complaining about the behaviour of members of the other forums.
Is it unethical to allow the blatant posting of false or misleading information on your forum because it’s “good for business”.

From any particular view point these things can be seen as unethical, good business practice, good publicity, bad publicity, funny, sad, stupid….etc etc…

Many of the points I’ve raised are similar to the ones raised by yourself torbjon, but strangely enough, are from personal experience totally unrelated to the happenings you are relating to.
Point being, these are not isolated instances and form a picture of behaviour of ATS owners and staff that some would find unethical.


And secondly just to add:

Is it unethical to run to your membership wanting sympathy and pity, crying like a little baby when you don't receive the recognition or respect you think your due, well no probably not, but it is childish.

:lol: .



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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby Forestlady » Thu Jul 31, 2008 5:07 pm

Good thread. As I just posted in another ATS Watch thread: ATS has accused another site of displaying child pron (wholly untrue, it was a pic of someone's kid sitting on the potty - that's all.) They have also insinuated that RU is worthy of a lawsuit. Aren't these things called "libel" and might we not (if we chose to) initiative a lawsuit against them for libel? Don't know if anyone wants to do so, but I'm just saying, I think they have now crossed the line into Illegal Activity; they are obviously trying to defame at least 2 other conspiracy forums, who they see as competitors and who also happen to be telling the honest truth about their experiences with ATS. Like any cockroach, SO cannot stand the light of day to be shone on the Truth.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby remus » Mon Aug 04, 2008 11:48 am

Thought this was interesting.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread377564/pg1

Is there an advantage to be gained by the staff and owners posting anonymously to resurrect old threads with the potential to influence what is shown on the recent posts or hot topics pages?
Does resurrecting old threads have any advantage for SEO?

Hypothetical.
A lot of interest is shown by visitors to the site in a particular topic, a quick search through some older threads by staff or owners discovers some related threads, a couple of anonymous posts are made to these threads, effectively bumping them to the recent posts page starting a flurry of new activity.
I have checked out a number of anonymous posts to old threads that don't seem to me to add anything at all to the topic except that it is now front and centre on the forum.
So it would seem to me to be either slack moderation of anonymous posts or a clandestine way of bumping old threads to initiate activity.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby ryguy » Mon Aug 04, 2008 1:06 pm

remus wrote:Thought this was interesting.

http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread377564/pg1

Is there an advantage to be gained by the staff and owners posting anonymously to resurrect old threads with the potential to influence what is shown on the recent posts or hot topics pages?
Does resurrecting old threads have any advantage for SEO?


Yes, the more pages that are updated, and the more often they are updated (on an existing site), the more "fresh" Google considers the website and the higher the ranking is.

No one really knows the "secret" formula Google uses, although SEO "experts" do know what Google essentially looks for. If anyone ever did get a "peek" at that formula, which is allegedly one of Google's biggest secrets...could you imagine the power you would have (at least in terms of Google rankings alone? Not any other search engine though...)

If you want to see the importance of what we're talking about here - read the article linked to below. One gambling site even offered $10 million to one SEO expert who they wanted to increase their ranking to the top. The market value, and the power Google now holds over the online marketplace, is mind-boggling...if you consider even just the market value of that power. Imagine knowing that one little secret...imagine knowing how to get any page, of any website, at the very top 10 (at least) of Google's rankings in less than a day...

http://computerworld.com/action/article ... Id=9012943

But even playing by the rules can be frustrating. Winfield has even cried foul to Google. In a search for translation services, "it amazes me that five out of 10 results were for the same Web site, and it was completely irrelevant. When I see things like that, it boggles my mind," Winfield says.

But he's quick to add that Google was "great for feedback" to an inquiry about the issue. "They do listen. It can be frustrating that they control so much, but they do care." Still, a Google search on March 9 for "translation services" showed that two of the 10 results were for the same site that Winfield questioned. The aroma of secret sauce wafts through the air.

What's in the secret sauce?

PageRank is Google's trademarked process where a numeric value represents how important a page is on the Web. But that's only part of the formula. There are also the value places on each link to that Web site. The secret sauce, much like many recipes in the food world, is a matter of how much of each ingredient is being used -- the "weighting" of each piece. While there's a bevy of information on the Web on the primary parts of the algorithm and what marketers or site owners should do to increase their rank, Google remains elusive on most of the 200 factors it uses to score pages and decide which page goes to the top of the results.


Just imagine.

Food for thought - I refer you to Torb's comments in another thread:

But too little too late... ATS has Google wrapped around it's little finger (some of you ATS members might wanna explore that, it's fun, exciting, and more than a little shocking)


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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby mojo » Fri Aug 22, 2008 4:33 pm

Unethical. How about stealth banning.

Ok, for those that don't believe that stealth bans exist at ATS here is some proof.
I had a co worker sign up to ATS , he was keen anyway as he is interested in a lot of the same topics that i am. s^~t, i was actually doing them a favour.
I didn't coerce or push him in anyway, i did point him to a couple of threads that i had made on ATS and i think he even posted on one of them because i wanted to get his "expert" opinion on my posts.
He was however aware of all of the goings on between sites at the time, we used to joke about it over a beer, :) and so he also made a few comments in some BB&Q threads.
Strangely after a while he couldn't log on anymore from work. No big deal, he wasn't particularly bothered but it did get me interested. So...i had a look at his posting history (with his permission).

On this thread, started by rasobasi420, which eventually got moved to the ATS issues thread, lol, Crakeur made a comment about "sockpuppets" of banned members. strangely enough, not very long after this comment (the same day) my co workers password didn't work any more and he has since been unable to log on.
But apparently ATS don't keep a log of members IP's.

In that thread crakeur answers a question from 'sinema'. (sinema is the username of my co worker).
sinema wrote:GLP has many threads that discuss drugs openly including personal experience yet that site is allowed to be discussed or linked to.
Or at least i think it is because springer didnt edit there name out in raso's other thread.
So i think raso raises a good point, how can a member be certain that what they are linking to will not get them banned.
Ive seen mention of sites on this board that ive visited and they have public discussion of drug use.
It doe's seem as if there are differing standards.



crakeur wrote:we won't ban someone for linking to site we don't allow linking to, unless they do so with malicious intent (we've had porn links intentionally posted). If you spam the boards with a site we might ban you but, if you innocently link to a site that we don't allow, we will edit the link and that will be that.

Rasobasi is still posting and he's linked to it, several sock puppets of formerly banned members have also mentioned the site and they have not been banned.

The truth is, it takes a lot to get banned from ATS. There are many members who are given chance after chance to learn the ropes and posting rules here. Some of our best members were, at one time, thorns in the side of the staff.



Bold is my emphasis.
And yes, rasobasi420 is now banned.
And also the "sockpuppets" that crakeur claims haven't or won't be banned.
Caught in a lie.
"Sinema" was unable to log on from this date onwards, the same date as crakeurs comment regarding "sockpuppets" of banned members.
Why?
Because he posts from the same computers that i do at work. Haha.
So why would they stealth ban someone who asks such an innocent and reasonable question. Because his IP matches the same IP i posted from sometimes, even thpough they are often from different computers.

It seems you are guilty before you are able to prove your innocence at ATS and not even given the respect of notification of banning in this case.
Tell me, how is this "denying ignorance".
It isn't, it is unethical behaviour imo, to say that you will not do something whilst busily doing that "thing" out of public view.

This is the error message he receives when he tries to log on.
Of course, someone from ATS will say that "oh he's probably just forgotten his password".
Not the case.

ERROR: You've Requested A Page
That No Longer Exists
(it happens to the best of us)

On July 28th, 2007, we underwent a significant upgrade to our servers and technology infrastructure. Part of that upgrade included some modifications to the information architecture across several sites. Perhaps you followed an old link, or used a bookmark to an old page, or, it may even be possible that you (or someone else) mistyped a link to our sites.


He supplied me with the password he was originally given, the password he used after changing it after his initial log on, and also the password he was given after he asked for a new one because he couldnt log in.
None of them work.
Stealth banned because they thought he was my sockpuppet.
That would amount to Unethical Behaviour imo.


(oh and yes, there is not much i can do to prove the veracity of my comments, i could give you the email address of my co worker, he has given me permission to do so privately, but hell thats easy enough to fake if you really wanted to. Thats why they get away with it so often).
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby torbjon » Tue Aug 26, 2008 4:08 am

This seems a bit unethical and definitely a double standard. In this thread ATS member "TrueAmerican" fabricates an OP and admits to the fabrication (flights of fancy to use ATS jargon) two posts down the page... grounds for banning right there, yes? That should be it, game over, intentionally telling a falsehood... and this isn't whacked out aliens he's fabricating, it's a Doomsday Letter... A note from a Terrorist, completely and intentionally fabricated... HOAXED.

but the dude doesn't get banned, not even a warning... he gets stars and flags and praise and the thread is allowed to continue for seven pages and is still going... and it makes the Front Page of ATS.

This is denying ignorance?

The whole thread:
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/thread383860/pg1

The OP
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/4844549.html

The 'explanation':
http://www.abovetopsecret.com/forum/single/4850647.html

mmph.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby ryguy » Tue Aug 26, 2008 2:21 pm

Wow....
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby Jack'sDead » Mon Oct 06, 2008 12:22 am

torbjon wrote:2) Linking.


I really don't see where there logic rests in defining what links are and are not allowed. Originally I had thought that it was basically meant that you could link to anything except other message boards. Then I found that many such "violations" were overlooked, leaving me to assume that they just didn't want members linking to boards that were in more direct competition. Seems understandable to some extent, from a business perspective, that they would want to retain as much traffic as possible. On the other hand, I really don't see why the bohemoth would really be so worried. Especially to the point that they are in some cases.

But let's have a look at my own situation that really left me wondering about the integrity of ATS, their motivations, and their support of members who make generous contributions of material. I was involved in a heated debate, when suddenly my opponent decided to copy my entire OP and posted it on several other sites, without even giving me any credit at all. It wasn't long that I was suddenly being ganged up on by proxy, as this member started posting all sorts of responses from other members of other boards. Instead of having a linear point by point debate, I was barraged with all sorts of material trying to shoot down the entire OP, and muddle the entire discussion. ATS staff did nothing about it, despite the fact that they actually lost traffic by allowing this. Even I ended up going over to other boards to defend my premise.

3) Intentionally ignoring requests to establish a dialog via the official ATS "Contact Us" form.


Well, in the case I was just speaking of above, I did get a response, but it was basically to tell me that they weren't going to do anything about my problem. Several times I was ignored, and to be fair, several time appropriate action was taken. My last complaint however, was lodged less than an hour before I was banned. S.O. has ignored my private emails so far as well.

4) Double standards.


I never once got a red-flag warning, yet somehow I have been banned twice now in as many months for very minor infractions.

EDIT to add: I've never had a thread deleted before either, until the second from last one that I created there, after it had already been bumped into the RATS basement.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby ATS_DeFeNdEr » Fri Oct 24, 2008 7:01 am

torbjon wrote:This seems a bit unethical and definitely a double standard. In this thread ATS member "TrueAmerican" fabricates an OP and admits to the fabrication (flights of fancy to use ATS jargon) two posts down the page... grounds for banning right there, yes? That should be it, game over, intentionally telling a falsehood... and this isn't whacked out aliens he's fabricating, it's a Doomsday Letter... A note from a Terrorist, completely and intentionally fabricated... HOAXED.

but the dude doesn't get banned, not even a warning... he gets stars and flags and praise and the thread is allowed to continue for seven pages and is still going... and it makes the Front Page of ATS.

This is denying ignorance?

mmph.


First of all. This is posted in Skunkworks. An area of ATS devoted to Insane and Crazy theories.

Second. A read through of the whole thread clearly shows that "TrueAmerican" never intended to "hoax" anybody.

Plain and simple.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby mojo » Fri Oct 24, 2008 9:21 am

ATS_DeFeNdEr wrote:
torbjon wrote:This seems a bit unethical and definitely a double standard. In this thread ATS member "TrueAmerican" fabricates an OP and admits to the fabrication (flights of fancy to use ATS jargon) two posts down the page... grounds for banning right there, yes? That should be it, game over, intentionally telling a falsehood... and this isn't whacked out aliens he's fabricating, it's a Doomsday Letter... A note from a Terrorist, completely and intentionally fabricated... HOAXED.

but the dude doesn't get banned, not even a warning... he gets stars and flags and praise and the thread is allowed to continue for seven pages and is still going... and it makes the Front Page of ATS.

This is denying ignorance?

mmph.


First of all. This is posted in Skunkworks. An area of ATS devoted to Insane and Crazy theories.

Second. A read through of the whole thread clearly shows that "TrueAmerican" never intended to "hoax" anybody.

Plain and simple.


are you going to answer the questions posed to you in the thread you started?

viewtopic.php?f=47&t=1459

or are you just going to hit and run and cherry pick things to whinge about.

i shouldnt be surprised really, you could never get a straight answer from Bill, Mark or Stephen and your no different.

ATSDefender, lol, give me a break, your not defending anything just trolling about the streets like Divine Brown.


ps...you know what is unethical, people who cheat on their partners especially when children are involved, thats what i call unethical, i wonder if theres anyone on the ATS staff who would stoop so low?
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby torbjon » Fri Oct 24, 2008 6:57 pm

First of all. This is posted in Skunkworks. An area of ATS devoted to Insane and Crazy theories.

Second. A read through of the whole thread clearly shows that "TrueAmerican" never intended to "hoax" anybody.

Plain and simple.


wow, you may be a defender but not a member... According to my chat with Bill Irvine, Skunk Works is NOT devoted to Insane and Crazy theories, it's just a little more lax and a little more forgiving than some of the other forums, that's all. When my works got moved out of Cryptozoology into Skunk Works he said it was because my works were based upon a "personal experience" and lacked verifiable evidence, ergo, Skunk Works was the place for it. He ASSURED me that Skunk Works was just as "serious" as the rest of ATS, and he ASSURED me that many many people read Skunk Works and that it is a very popular and important section of ATS.

Second, When the threatening OP and the Explanation are separated by some DAYS, I'm sorry? What?

Ya, Sure, It was nice of Orson Wells to come in at the End of the show and tell folks it was all just a joke, but by then it was too late, the damage had been done.

Not even a nice try Defender.

But do come back again sometime.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby DUCKY » Sat Oct 25, 2008 5:21 am

I reiterate once again:

I'm with the contention that this 'ATS Defender' is nothing but a subserviant boot-licking Troll.


I have a feeling who this person might be...but refrain from saying at this point.

As with those who remain behind to *ahem* defend that site, I offer you nothing but pity.

You will one day get bored with the ongoing mis-info, triviality of posts that will emerge on a daily basis, and will no doubt come to the decision that, THAT site, is NOT what it seems. You TOO will question the validity of said site, and perhaps come to terms (within your own mind?) that all is not what's cracked up to be.

Until then, should you return to Reality Uncovered or even Amkon, it is within your best interests to not 'lash out' your idiosyncracies towards these sites, without JUST CAUSE.

Your 'drive-by' shooting episodes serve no purpose here or ANY place on the internet boards.

Poop or get off the pot.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby Jack'sDead » Sat Oct 25, 2008 8:49 pm

torbjon wrote:...Skunk Works is NOT devoted to Insane and Crazy theories...


I find it amazing how many people think that "Skunk Works" is somehow where all the "garbage" gets put, without evert stopping to think where the term originated. :roll: Fools.

That "drive-by" must have been no one of any importance or profound thought. If they were, they would have known the intended meaning behind Skunk Works. The original being the place where America's premiere and uber-secret aircraft designs have been devoloped.
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Re: Things that suggest unethical behavior to me

Postby torbjon » Sun Oct 26, 2008 6:45 am

Keep in mind that those "drive bys" are primarily "roll calls" to see who is keeping tabs on this forum. It's a pretty standard tactic from way back *shrugs* Gig is, the bulk of the Watch people don't hang out here, they are (duh) watching ATS.
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